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Americana Music Blog

America has been serving up slices of Americana since the mid-19th-century. The genre is an all-encompassing term for a variety of music styles that found their roots in America, including blues, bluegrass, country, and roots-rock. More often than not, Americana is a fusion of one or more forms of roots music, and it is commonly synonymous with folk-based country and singer-songwriter music.

Some of the most iconic Americana artists include Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen, Willie Nelson, Lucinda Williams and Steve Earl. Steve Earl remains popular to this day; his 2021 album, J.T., was listed as one of the best Americana albums of the year. Other artists that featured alongside Earl on the albums of the year list included Brandi Carlile, John Hiatt, Jack Ingram and Strand of Oaks.

Prior to 2010, Americana was considered a niche genre, yet in a transition that no one anticipated, Americana moved into the mainstream. The artists responsible for pulling the genre into the limelight included The Lumineers, the Avett Brothers, and of course, Mumford & Sons. Despite being a British band, Mumford & Sons became one of the best-selling Americana artists in recent years. They made history when they became the first British band since Coldplay to make it big in the US and sell more than a million albums. Yet, Mumford & Sons held their hands up to admit that without The Lumineers, their success wouldn’t have been possible.

In the late 90s, the Americana Music Association was established in Nashville; and they still have their finger on the pulse to this day. In 2021, they named Black Pumas as the group of the year, Brandi Carlile as the artist of the year and Charley Crockett as the emerging artist of the year. It’s not surprising to see Black Pumas named as one of the Americana artists of the year; the Austin-based act has amassed over 100 million streams with their most popular soul psych song, Colors. They also picked up three Grammy nominations in 2020.

Americana received another uptick in interest with the release of the blockbuster film, A Star is Born, which followed a roots music raconteur (Bradley Cooper) on his quest for fame. Bradley Cooper’s character may have been fictional, but plenty of Americana history and culture was poured into the critically acclaimed film that became an overnight sensation; both Lukas Nelson and Brandi Carlile appeared in the film. It seems that as long as there are artists committed to planting roots of Americana into their music, it will never go out of trend.

Joe Astley sings the everyman blues in his world-class single, Suburbia

Joe Astley

Drawing parallels between Bitter Sweet Symphony, sans the bitterness, Joe Astley’s orchestral feat of folkish rock, Suburbia, taken from his forthcoming debut album, is for anyone who has ever felt the gravity of their hometown dragging them down more insidiously than anywhere else.

The opening lyric, “this city’s got it in for me, there’s a thousand other places that I wish to be”, delivered through harmonic lines that soak the record with sepia-tinged lament as they resound over the rugged acoustic guitar chords, orchestral strings and soaring electric guitar notes as they wind old school Americana into the release starts the single on a sombre note.

The profoundly uplifting release seamlessly progresses into a defiantly strident score through the refusal to fade away into the misery that soaks the streets of working-class towns and cities across the UK. The Wigan-based professional singer-songwriter and instrumentalist sonically attested to the bleakness scribed in Orwell’s The Road to Wigan Pier while simultaneously pulling beauty from the destitution that his accoladed career is pulling him from.

As some artists bemoan the current climate of the music industry, Joe Astley is thriving as definitive proof that with the right balance of tenacious songwriting, insurmountable talent and effortless charisma that immerses you into the emotional states he orchestrates, success is still in the sightline.

Between his residency at the Cavern Club, SKY TV streaming the live run-through of Suburbia, his debut EP on the shelves in HMV, and all his singles charting in the iTunes top ten, it’s impossible not to feel giddy when anticipating his next move.

The launch of his debut album, Twenty-First Century Times, on January 20th, 2023 will undoubtedly open up even more roads for Astley as he takes his boy-next-door resonance wherever he goes.

Purchase Suburbia on Apple Music or add it to your Spotify playlists.

Follow Joe Astley on Facebook & Instagram.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Swing back to the late 60s with Sarah Streitz’s dusky groove-led rock hit, Time Passes

Ahead of the release of her 2022 album, Different Space, we got stuck into the retro grooves of Santa Fe and Minneapolis singer-songwriter Sarah Streitz’s single Time Passes. While there’s no arguing with the titular statement, clearly, Streitz doesn’t conform to the linear passing of time if the tonal nostalgia that the dusky rock record spills is anything to go by. With just a few licks of the bass and her effortlessly cool vocal performance, you’re doused in late 60s synaesthesia.

After leaving Americana and country (mostly) behind her, Streitz teamed up with the Grammy-winning sound engineer Marc Whitmore to deliver soundscapes that would make Tarantino’s head spin. Evidently, Whitmore poured the same magic into Time Passes as he did with The Black Keys records – there’s something infinitely intoxicating about her demurely vintage vocal timbre colliding with the bass lines that roll around the shimmering organs and spacey sonic effects that bring a touch of modernism to the trippy swing of the single.

Time Passes is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Peppler lulled us into optimistic gratitude with his dream folk serenade, Blessed

Creating ample anticipation for his upcoming dream folk album releasing in early 2023, the acoustic folk artist Peppler exposed his old soul in his lead single, Blessed.

Entwining the warm vintage tones of 60s and 70s folk with a modern signature dream pop sound that only Peppler can call his own, Blessed is effortlessly efficacious in beckoning you into the beguiling grace of the release. Which needed no more than accordant acoustic guitars, a harmonica and Peppler’s consolingly dulcet tones to lull you into gratified catharsis.

Lyrically, Blessed optimistically reinforces the message that we are blessed within ourselves and that trust that it will all work out is never misplaced. It’s a simple message, but one worth reiterating, given our tendency to curse every downfall and diminish everything positive. Notably, artistically thriving within pure, simplistic minimalism is Peppler’s gift, one that he’s worked tirelessly to perfect after eight years of performing live and crafting albums with various projects.

Watch Blessed live from the G7 Recording Studio on YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

 

Masorti presents: “Father’s Eyes”, a new studio release

Masorti is a creative and talented musician with a focus on exploring a wide variety of influences, while still ensuring that his music is incredibly punchy and creative, appealing to listeners of all backgrounds while portraying the artist’s personality and Americana-folk vibe.

Masorti’s most recent studio work is titled “Father’s Eyes”, and it is yet another step forward for him. This one shows a lot of potential, as the production is just as good as the performance of the artist, which brings so much vitality and passion to the mix. The release is a crossroads of different vibes and influences, yet as if by magic, it all really acquires a stunning and original tone, which adds to the scope of this release.

Find out more about Masorti, and check out “Father’s Eyes”, his flavorful new release.

Love Prevails in Mermaid Avenue’s Indie Alt-Country Single, Darkest Hour

Brisbane’s most amorous indie alt-country outfit, Mermaid Avenue, has testified to the redemptive propensities of love in their latest single, Darkest Hour, taken from their third album, which is due for release in 2023.

The crooned country twang with the heart-wrenchingly executed vibrato in the vocals beside the meandering blues of the guitars and flourishing piano motifs is a potent combination which amplifies the message in the uninhibitedly romantic lyricism to the nth degree.

What Mr Darcy is to literature, Mermaid Avenue is to the airwaves. Any fans of Trudy and the Romance will want to sink into the cinematic sincerity of this serenade time and time again. It’s not country as you’ve known it before; Mermaid Avenue could never be so assimilative in their autonomously scintillating style.

Darkest Hour is now available to stream via SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Lewis & Ford advocate the artistic life in their addictive reggae-dubbed psych-pop single, Radio

After refusing to bow to social pressures and shack up in a life of drab uniform domesticity, the LA duo Lewis & Ford released the sweet feat of reggae-dubbed ear candy, Radio. For every artist that has remained committed to their creative life to the disdain of loved ones, the stridently euphoric track is a sure-fire hit of vindication.

In Lewis & Ford’s taking-no-prisoners high-vibe lyrical style, they versed “I won’t ever be like them and never leave this town, cause I can’t hear them hatin’ while my band is playing a stadium, you’re gonna hear me on the radio” as the ultimate middle finger with a smile affirmation that autonomy is as beautiful as the lush psych surf harmonies and dreamy melodies. While the rhythms pop, Americana roots contort around the kaleidoscopic colour in the galvanising tonal palette.

Stream Radio on YouTube, and follow Lewis & Ford on Facebook and Instagram.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

My Duty: Kev Scott and The Cherished Times are the lifeguards needed to wash those tears away on Find Your Love

Knowing that the romance is there after the harrowing seas calm down mightily, Kev Scott and The Cherished Times are ready to hold hands again with that cherished human on Find Your Love.

Kev Scott and The Cherished Times are a Blackpool, Lancashire-based Gospel-fused Americana alt-folk rock act who makes those dreamy tracks you can’t ever forget.

Tales of lockdown crisis and a world war 2 rescue are two of the themes that accompany love, loss and life set to the blend of Gospel tinged Americana/Alternative folk rock that has become the signature sound of the band.” ~ Kev Scott and The Cherished Times

Delighting us with something rather special to truly feel profoundly, Kev Scott and The Cherished Times send our hearts into a whole new level of comfort on this important new single.

Find Your Love from Blackpool, Lancashire-based Gospel-fused band Kev Scott and The Cherished Times is a soaring soundtrack which shows us that genuine care does indeed exist. Sung with care and poise, filled with superb vocals and fused together so splendidly, this is a soundtrack to play loud when you need to feel that all-important hope again.

Listen up to this new song here and see more on his IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Frontier Station’s latest folk-rock single is ‘Mediocre’ in title alone

Frontier Station

Frontier Station wove a masterfully enticing tapestry with the close-knit boy-girl harmonies in their latest single, Mediocre, taken from their upcoming debut album, The Birds, The Stars & The Chimney Sweeps, which is due for release on January 20th.

The London-based folk-rock six-piece married Americana rock swagger with the roots of Irish folk and modernised the soundscape with The National-Esque production on the cascading guitars – to awe-inspiring effect.

With Frontier Station, there is the promise that every song tells a tale; with Mediocre, they put a swoonsome romantic epic into melodic motion as they set a scene in a mining town in Thatcher’s England. That name may make everyone with a semblance of empathy cringe, but her cursed capitalist legacy doesn’t stand a chance against the soul impassionedly poured into Mediocre.

Mediocre will officially release on October 28th. Check it out on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

The country rock renegade Brandon Bing is back in the saddle in his roughneck hit, Don’t Bring Your Car to a Rodeo

Before you head to your first rodeo, learn the ropes from the Floridian traditional country rock raconteur Brandon Bing. Taken from his latest whisky-soaked album, Huckleberry, his seminal single, Don’t Bring Your Car to a Rodeo, is an enlivening invitation into the roughneck culture of rodeos.

The foot-stompin’ rhythms drive good vibes right through the upbeat hit while the folky strings bring the gravitas that Brandon Bing is renowned for in the country music scenes far beyond his own turf. Off the back of his 2021 EP, Dyin’ Breed, he received accolades from the International Singer-Songwriters Association, and he’s toured his sound across the states with appearances at Live Oak in Nashville and at the BMI Songwriters Festival in Florida.

Don’t Bring Your Car to a Rodeo is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Charlie Diamond is the last of the die-hard romantic dreamers in his latest serenade, The Star Studded Girl and the Sunset Kid

The Star Studded Girl and The Sunset Kid by Charlie Diamond

Armed with his harmonica, acoustic guitar and poetically romantic sensibility, the Connecticut folk singer-songwriter, Charlie Diamond, orchestrated the ultimate outpour of affection in his latest single, The Star Studded Girl and the Sunset Kid.

Released on September 5th, The Star Studded Girl and the Sunset Kid carries Bob Dylan-style overtones, with outlier dreamer candour as the affirmation of his artistic autonomy. With the almost spoken word versing of the lyrics, which takes you to breathtaking landscapes and even more arresting attests of passion, it’s the ultimate aural escapism for die-hard romantics.

The Star Studded Girl and the Sunset Kid is now available to stream and purchase on Bandcamp.

Review by Amelia Vandergast